Real learning is a part of the work, not apart from it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The journey of a thousand ideas can begin with one Tweet

Last Friday I met with a colleague (a trainer) who had, several weeks ago, asked me to observe her training and help her improve its effectiveness. Prior to the observation I asked her what the goal was, I asked: “What is it the participant should be able to do after your training?”

After observing and taking detailed notes of her session with the participants, we met for an hour to discuss the activities and revisit the goal.

I asked her one question: "Does this content warrant training?" After a bit of discussion we agreed that the solution that was needed was a simple system enhancements with IT and more authentic practice. In the end we cut out the lecture, the memorization and regurgitation. We reduced the time down by at least 2 hours which provides more opportunities for practice, collaboration, and reflection.

Simply put, training was not needed to enable performance.

It probably doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal to you but if it were not for the action I took over two years prior, on May 9, 2008 at 8:51pm, I would most likely have had been helping her rewrite her learning objectives, creating worksheets and developing a leaders guide.

That May evening in 2008 is when I opened my Twitter account. And like so many I lurked for a while before jumping in on June 10th with this ironic statement:

Since that date I have read numerous books and articles and blogs on social media, social & informal learning, and the importance of both the learnscape and workscape.

I'm better at steering stakeholders away from the creation of large info dumping courses and have helped design and deliver JIT performance supporting resources.

I have shared ideas with, and been supported directly by, the likes of Jay Cross, Jane Hart, Harold Jarche, Charles Jennings, Cammy Bean, Janet Clarey, and Clark Quinn. I have become quite addicted to Thursday night #lrnchats where I get a chance to interact with many of these fine thinkers.

I founded the Social and Informal Learning Special Interest Group (SIL-SIG) in my local chapter of ASTD. Today, I’m promoting our chapter’s first Pacha Kucha or unconference.

I have embarked on a successful crusade to use Wiki’s as collaborative learning tools to enhance formal training; leveraged SharePoint blogs to build community between geographically dispersed newly hired employees; I started my own blog; and I brought Yammer into the enterprise for organizational PLN’s.

I am currently directing the transition of my organization's classroom on-boarding program to one with virtual support in a workplace context.
Finally, I have designed the framework for a Learning Portal that will house learning assets and connect experts to novices, which is all aligned to the key business metrics.

My current title is an ISD, which now seems too limiting since designing formal training is not at all …all that I do. I work to improve performance throughout the organization; informally and formally.

Prior to that Tweet I pretty much saw the answer to performance problems as formal, top down training only. That Tweet led me to creative thinkers and their great books, blogs, articles & webinars. I found a community of like-minded professionals who challenged my core beliefs. They shared and I shared, we collaborated...I saw the benefits personally and I brought it to my organization.

What's next, I don't know... but Twitter continues as the catalyst in advancing my professional evolution.

So are you still wondering what’s so great about Twitter? Not me.

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